How Much Control Does WWE Have Over William Regal's Ring Name?

Shakespeare once asked "What's in a name?" The answer, if you're in the entertainment industry, is a whole lot of paperwork.

William Regal did an "Asked & Answered" episode of his Gentleman Villain podcast, in which he was asked about the ownership of his longstanding ring name, and his answer was pretty simple: "I own the name."

Regal, real name Darren Matthews, says he never asked for it, but the back page of his contract with WWE has always said "names owned by me," noting that the names he owns are Lord Steven Regal, William Regal, and a couple of others he used while wrestling in England. "I don't know why they were on there," Regal continued, "I never asked for them and they were on there."

Regal said that he has an "admiration" for Vince McMahon and everything that he's done for him, and that "if Mr. McMahon would've asked me not to use it, I wouldn't've used it."

"The only thing that WWE had was a copyright in America and in Europe if I was to wrestle," Regal added. "They could stop me wrestling, if they wanted to, as 'William Regal,', but I don't wrestle anymore."

Regal was released from WWE in January of this year, and has since debuted in AEW as a coach and mentor to Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, Wheeler Yuta, and newest addition Claudio Castagnoli. Regal's last match took place in 2013, a loss to Castagnoli himself in "NXT."

According to Regal, such is his respect and admiration for McMahon that if McMahon asked him today to stop using the William Regal name, considering WWE's immense help in the former WWE Intercontinental Champion's battle with sobriety, as well as the 21 years of  what Regal calls "good publicity" under the name, Regal would acquiesce. "But he never asked."